The article we've included here is an excellent discussion of several passages in the Old Testament that prophesy the utter destruction of Damascus - and suggesting that it's a precursor of the Tribulation.
The "Oracle of Damascus" or "Burden of Damascus" is recorded in Isaiah 17:1-14, as well as associated passages found in Zechariah 9:1-8 and Jeremiah 49:23-27. These Bible passages, and some say Amos 1:3-5 as well, are considered prophetic by most Evangelical Christians. Furthermore, some evangelicals consider Psalm 83 to be a reference to countries along Israel's borders conspiring to destroy her in the "latter days." They claim that the Bible tells us that modern-day Damascus will, in the End Days, come to a quick, devastating and permanent end. They regard Isaiah 17:1 ...
... in no uncertain terms to mean the utter destruction by the world's oldest, continuously inhabited city - an event, they point out - has, heretofore, never occurred. It must, therefore be considered a prophecy the fulfillment of which is yet future ...
Isaiah 17:4 takes the matter still further - telling us that the destruction of Damascus will be both terrifying and sudden ...
Jeremiah 49:23-27 - especially, verses 26 and 27 - underscore and confirm Isaiah 17 ...
Two verses in Chapter 17 (Isaiah 17:1-2) describe the future of Damascus, a city much in the news today. The verses have not yet been fulfilled. The infallible Word of God says that Damascus, a large and very old city, ultimately will be destroyed. We are not told how or when this will happen but it will happen, as the Word of God declares. (Why Do the Nations Rage, Ray Stedman, the PBC Library)
Dave Dolan, a Jerusalem-based author and journalist, in his book, Israel in Crisis: What Lies Ahead?" likewsie insists that the Oracle of Damascus has yet to be fulfilled (pp. 83-84). Dolan's editorial updates from the Middle East confirm his persistent suspicions that the Burden of Damascus could occur at any time:
Widespread media reports of possible imminent war with Syria, probably initiated by an attack upon Israel by its puppet Hezbollah militia force in Lebanon, supported by Palestinian Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip, and possibly by Iran itself, have increased significantly in recent days here in Israel. Military analysts say this indicates something is indeed occurring on the ground to raise the war alert, as confirmed by army sources. ("War Jitters Rock Israel," D.Dolan.com - Israel Update, Jerusalem, April 3, 2008)
More and more evangelicals are drawing a distinction between the Oracle of Damascus and the Gog-Magog War described in Ezekiel 38-39. Again, Dave Dolan makes this distinction:
The big news here in Israel today, boldly headlined in the nation's largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, this morning, is Russia's reported return to two naval bases that the Kremlin largely built and once controlled in neighboring Syria. The move is said to be part of a large Russian weapons deal with Syria, at least partially funded by Iran, as I reported about in last week's monthly news update. The dramatic Russian move will undoubtedly increase speculation among observant Christians and Jews that Ezekiel's Gog and Magog invasion is drawing very near. In light of author Joel Rosenberg's popular novel about the theme, I get asked about this prophecy all the time now as I travel around the world, and especially if I see its fulfillment as possibly imminent. Frankly I do NOT see Ezekiel's penultimate prophesied event as taking place in the near-term future. Instead, I suspect that the region could well witness an apparent massive clash between Syria and Israel, described in Isaiah chapter 17, unfolding in the not too distant future, to which Russia and other countries listed by Ezekiel would eventually react, but not immediately in the climactic way described by Ezekiel. (Dave Dolan, The Isaiah 17 War against Syria/Jordan Comes Before Gog and Magog in Ezek. 38, Global Resource Ministries International Israel Update, August 06, 2007, as found on Philip's Zionist Blog)
All of this [i.e., the current Syrophoenicia War in the Levant (See 2006 Lebanon War and Syro-Palestinian archaeology)] leads me to believe that Damascus will be destroyed before the Tribulation begins. I believe that Damascus is about to so threaten Israel's existence by either launching or furnishing bio-chemical weapons or radioactive dirty bombs, that Israel will nuke them. Israel has sworn that it will implement the Samson Option against any nation that attacks her with any form of weapons of mass destruction. That means a thermonuclear strike. This may soon happen to Syria. (Hal Lindsey Oracle Politically Incorrect Prophetically Correct 7/31/2006)
What is most important is that all this is setting up Ezekiel's 2600-year-old prophecy in Ezekiel 38. Persia, or modern Iran, is listed a chief among the Muslim nations Russia will lead into an all-out assault against Israel. This is predicted to be the first battle of the War of Armageddon. The one nation that does not seem to be listed is Syria. I believe this is because, as a result of actions it is now taking against Israel, Isaiah's prophecy about Damascus in the last days is going to be soon fulfilled. Twenty Seven hundred years ago, Isaiah warned ...
To establish the time of this event, Lindsey asks us to consider the following facts ...
See the following: Uncovered: Russian-Syrian-Iranian Axis," Hal Lindsey Oracle.com, Hal Lindsey, July 24, 2006) Three Prophetic Wars In his Prophetic Sequence: Trident Wars; Damascus Will Cease from being a City; and Israel's War.
Doug Krieger of the Tribulation Network describes three prophetic wars which will occur in ever-widening circles around Israel ...
Krieger concludes that the modern states of Syria (i.e., Damascus or the land of Hadrach and Hamath, Zechariah 9:1-2; or Damascus, Syria and the cities of Aroer Isaiah 17:1-3), Lebanon (Tyre and Sidon, Zechariah 9:2-4; the Palestinian entities of Gaza (Zechariah 9:5-7); and the West Bank (i.e., the stronghold or fortress of Ephraim, Isaiah 17:3) will conspire against Israel - leading inexorably to the catastrophe described in the Oracle of Damascus - and that the end of the war mentioned in Daniel 9:26 prior to the covenant made by the Antichrist in Daniel 9:27 is the current Arab-Israeli Conflict which started in 1948 and will persist to the conclusion of the Burden of Damascus.
Krieger goes on to suggest that the Oracle of Damascus is what Zechariah 9 is pointing to - and marks the grand opening of the Messianic Scenario, which stretches from Zechariah 9 through the end of Zechariah 14. The final countdown to the Messianic Age starts with the Oracle of Damascus and continues throughout the Tribulation - resulting eventually in the defeat of the Antichrist-Beast, the triumph of the saints (Daniel 7:27), the return of Messiah, and the start of the Messianic Age.
Secular Zionism, already losing its grip on the Israeli imagination, will be bankrupted following Israel's defeat of the nations arrayed against her in the description Isaiah 17 gives of the Oracle of Damascus (Isaiah 17:4) ...
Biblical Zionism will emerge triumphant - with the result that the Third Temple will be built - a prophetic fulfilment made possible by the false peace orchestrated by the "Coming Prince" (Daniel 9:26-27) (See: Sir Robert Anderson and The Coming Prince.)
According to Krieger, what distinguishes the Oracle of Damascus from the Gog-Magog war are the constellation of nations mentioned and/or omitted in the Bible passages describing these two conflicts - let alone their dissimilarities when compared to the Armageddon Campaign. They are not the same prophetic conflicts because the nations and/or peoples allied against Israel are so obviously dissimilar.
Krieger asserts that Gog is a chief spiritual principality against Israel and that Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah constitute peoples populating the modern state of Turkey, whereas they, together with Persia, are allied as the King of the North in Daniel 11:40 and that the King of the South (Daniel 11:40) is comprised of the modern states of Egypt, Libya and Sudan (ancient Ethiopia, not the Cush of the Levant or of ancient Assyria) - all allied against Antichrist.
Those allied with Israel in the Gog-Magog conflict are the modern states of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula (Sheba and Dedan (Ezekiel 38:13) and the West (i.e., the merchants of Tarshish headed up by the United States of America, the leader of the West.)
Finally, Krieger conjectures that whereas the center of the conflict in Ezekiel is Israel, the center of the conflict in Daniel 11:40-43 is Antichrist who is allied with Israel in the same conflict.
Finally, Paul Robertson, in Damascus Will No Longer Be a City (Apocalypse Soon, the Xcellent Files) distinguishes the Oracle of Damascus from the Gog-Magog War: Isaiah's clues indicate that the multinational attack that follows the destruction of Damascus is the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39.